Thursday, March 24, 2016

Casa Matilde - our home in Guatemala

The start of our adventure!
We flew from Miami straight into Guatemala City - couldn't have been easier...

Big city! Happy we are headed to a smaller town.

It's about an hour to get from the airport to Antigua.
This is home for the next six weeks - Casa Matilde.

Nice place with five bedrooms (three with private bathrooms) for guests and then a room for the owner - Mario.

Our room for the first two weeks - then we moved upstairs to a private bathroom. No heat or air conditioning in these rooms. Even though it got cold at night (in the 40's -50's) we were never cold - the building is well insulated and holds the heat from the day.

No hot water tanks - the only way to get hot water for showers is to set it just right. "you can take a hot shower or a high pressure shower - not both"

Dining room - where we did most of our visiting

Kitchen - the sink is down the hall.

From the top deck - we were fortunate enough to be able to do laundry here - everything is dried on the line.

The view from the top deck - Volcan de Fuego

Nightly socializing time during dishes with the gang.

Scott, Fred and Mario

Another view from the deck  - that's Volcan de Agua

We went out to dinner one night and enjoyed the music

traditional Mayan dancers during dinner

Scott and Mario out dancing

So thankful for this group (and Sara!) - they made our trip that much more fun! Mario was a great host - we just need to learn more Spanish so we can go back and visit more!

Antigua, Guatemala Week #1

Our first week in Antigua!
Lots of travelers and backpackers in this little town - we even quickly learned to discern when a cruise ship was docked (about two hours away on the Pacific coast).

So many colors and beautiful people!

Mermaids - lots of mermaids in town...

Street vendors - we were told to not eat the food because you couldn't be sure of the cleanliness. That was hard because it smelled so good. Next time I might have to be brave and try it...

We took a photo class from Rudy Giron ( he gives it free through Maximo Nivel. What a great class and interesting guy.

It was hard to not constantly buy from the kids who
were street vendors...

I guess owls are their version of a piggy bank

This park was on our way to school -
the Agua Volcano is peaking through...

"Cars have the right away - because horses have the right away..."
I didn't get it either - but you learn to quickly get out of the way.

La Merced is one of the bigger churches in town.

This is the only gnome we could find in town...

Chicken, potatoes and guacamole - 30Q - about $4.

Volcano Fuego blowing ash in the background.

The view from Maximo Nivel's deck - with Agua
bright and beautiful.

So, FYI - nachos in Guatemala aren't the same as in the states...
these had tons of veggies on it - and hardly any cheese. It was still really good...

It took us a while to figure out the "don't" sign in the middle...

The stop signs were located on the buildings on the opposite side of the street. No one really pays attention to them anyway...

Jesse talking to this vendor who can sell, walk and carry a bundle on her head all at the same time (it's hard to describe or get a picture of how bad the streets and sidewalks are in Antigua - we could barely walk without twisting our ankles but the women here walk in slip on shoes and carry heavy bundles on their heads without missing a beat).

The street dogs just hang out waiting to be fed...

Rudy Giron

Lots of fruits and veggies - they need to be cleaned with filtered water (not from the tap) - which makes it a project.

About $8.62 worth of produce...

The EMS & Firefighters in Guatemala are not government funded. They stand out on the street/ride on chicken buses to panhandle for funds. We did our share of spaghetti dinner fundraisers for EMS but I can't imagine having to beg for cash.

This mime was hilarious - it helped that we didn't have to know Spanish to understand him...

Schools out! Around 130pm the street would be flooded with kids. It was a good time to be inside a bar... ;-)